Monday, 11 April 2011

Tate Watercolours

I have been lucky enough to have another 'day off' and have spent it at the Tate Gallery in London at the watercolour exhibition. I felt like a child on a school day out, almost hopping up and down with excitement, and I was not disappointed. I had thought carefully about whether to join up with someone, my husband, a friend, a fellow evening-class student perhaps, but decided that I actually would enjoy it more by myself. There were a few occasions when I was tempted to comment to a total stranger about one of the pictures but most of the time I was happy to think my own thoughts, to not have to listen to anyone else's and to go at my own pace, lingering or moving on as I wanted. Picture after picture astounded me with colour, dexterity, detail, boldness and more colour. There were maps, portraits, architecture, botany, landscape, abstracts and war paintings. I tuned in to my own mental chatter, trying to capture what it was that made me internally exclaim, "amazing!" I asked myself over and again what I liked about the pictures that made me stop and examine them. Would I like to paint like that? It is hard to get passed the feeling that I will never have the skill to be able to paint like any of these artists and to let myself discover what I was drawn to. I also struggle not to apologies for my tastes, as if what I like must lack sophistication or substance. I find that I like bright colours, especially red and green; I like pen and wash, pictures with outlines, a somewhat 'illustrative' style; I am awed by courage: large scale, intimate detail or strong brush marks, reminding me the idea I once read in a climbing book of a 'committing move'. I have thoroughly enjoyed my day out and learned a great deal more about the range of the medium I am learning to paint in. Unexpected though, was how I have learned a little bit more about myself, who I am and what I love.

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